Mentoring Program Strengthens Academic and Social Skills
Native American youth in North Dakota’s Sioux County and the Standing Rock Reservation face many challenges. 2013 Kids Count! data reports 51.1 percent of children ages 0-17 are living in poverty. Research indicates that being raised in poverty places children at a higher risk for a wide range of issues including social and emotional stress, physical and mental health issues, poor cognitive and academic outcomes, higher rates of risky behavior. Sioux County has the highest average dropout rate in North Dakota at 12.2 percent. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native youth aged 10 to 34 years. As a positive youth development organization, the North Dakota State Extension Service’s mentoring program, “4-H Youth and Families with Promise,“ is an evidenced-based program designed to strengthen academic and social skills using activities related to mentorship, leadership, community service and group project work. Their program offers videography, business development, entrepreneurship, 3D printing, beadwork, leather craft, outdoor skills, service learning, and literacy activities. As of early 2014, 187 tribal youth ages 5 to 17 are being reached through the work of 44 mentor volunteers. Schools where mentored youth attend report a 20 percent increase in attendance and the number of youth passing their classes has more than doubled. The program has also helped address truancy and dropout issues facing schools where the program is conducted.
NIFA originally published this impact in the NIFA 2015 Annual Report. Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.